12 January 2021

Finding the right webshop platform to integrate into Business Central

The four most important questions to ask!

You’d be surprised how often companies underestimate how much preparatory work is needed to implement an IT project successfully.

A shame, for how can you successfully implement a project from start to finish without being clear on what ‘successful’ actually mean to you? Selecting the right webshop platform to integrate into your Business Central ERP can be overwhelming. What opportunities do you foresee, and what conditions must you set? It’s critical to know what you’re looking for. Therefore, this article looks at what you can do to accurately choose a fitting solution and ensure the implementation is prepared well.

Each supplier differs in what they can offer you as an integrated package. It’s a tall order to weigh every little detail that could be affected by this project. On the other hand, you also don’t want to decide this on a whim. So, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to make an informed decision.

(1) What do you want to achieve by integrating your webshop into Business Central?

Integrating your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform with your e-commerce platform can significantly benefit your organisation and your customers. The first question a potential IT partner should ask is: why do you want to integrate these two systems in the first place? If there’s one thing you’d like to change in your current situation regarding the e-commerce side of your business, what would that be?

  • Are you losing a lot of time?
  • Or do you make a lot of costs?
  • Or do you want to improve your customer service?

It is essential to know when the project is a success. Clear objectives give direction. They help you formulate requirements and manage the expectations of your organisation.

(2) Which parts of your business will this integration affect?

In most companies, a webshop order triggers plenty of business processes. To name a few: order processing, finances, inventory management, and customer service. Linking your webshop to your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP goes way beyond just integrating two systems: back office and related processes are also affected. For this reason, it is vital to involve the right people to aid you in the selection process:

  • Who are key people related to your e-commerce business?
  • To what extent are they familiar with the potential advantages of integrating your webshop with your ERP?
  • What input could they provide for a selection and a possible implementation?

It might be a good idea to involve a group of users of various disciplines in the selection of a webshop link as well. This has the advantage of creating ambassadors of a sort for the proposed solution. The disadvantage may be that this could affect the duration of the selection process. However, by involving others in this process, you’re able to collect valuable insights that might affect the chances of successful implementation. By asking the right questions, you’re better able to assess what the integration can (or should) profit.

(3) Which business processes do you want to automate?

As they say, time is precious, and time is money. You can only spend your time once, which is why time savings are one of the most common arguments for integrating your webshop into Microsoft Dynamics 365. The webshop link allows you to automate different processes between departments, ensuring they don’t have to take place manually. With a link, an increase in customers and sales doesn’t equal more work, allowing you to focus on online growth.

Consider which processes you want to automate or improve further:

  • Customer and relationship management.
  • Inventory management (providing you correct stock values and order information on your webshop).
  • Order management (e.g., giving customers (more) insight into their order status, order history, and invoices).
  • Product management.
  • Logistics (e.g., providing insight into delivery times or track and trace).
  • Customer service (e.g., giving insight into the technical details of a product).
  • Improving the financial handling of orders.

The next step would be to create a list of what you want and what you’d like and discuss this with your integration partner.

(4) What are your webshop integration must-haves?

When teaming up with key stakeholders (e.g., internal clients or key ‘links’ in your e-commerce process), discuss what requirements you must have.
Think of the following:

  • Functional requirements: what should the final implementation be capable of, and what should be possible? Be sure to look at all the affected areas, from your product catalogue to orders, invoicing, and customer service.
  • Out of the box: ideally, you should look for a solution that offers the above features by default. Make sure that no additional customisation is required.
  • Degree of flexibility: to what extent can you change the integration? Can people adjust the mapping via a ‘User Interface’, or is everything hard-coded?
  • Connection: how easy is it to set up the connection between the two systems? Does additional software need to be installed or connected to the API?

Distinguish between requirements (must-haves) and wishes (nice-to-have). The central question you should focus on is: “When is this project a success?” A list of wishes and requirements serves several purposes: you want to manage internal expectations and present a clear briefing to the supplier with whom you’ve decided to work.

Want to learn more about selecting an ERP e-commerce connector?

Head over to our e-commerce connectors for more information about our solutions. You can also follow this series, in which we help you go through the selection process efficiently and effectively, allowing you to make the best choice for your organization.

Article 1: Why should you integrate your webshop with Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Article 2: The ROI of an integrated ERP e-commerce connector

Article 4: How do you select an ERP e-commerce connector?

Article 5: Integrating your ERP with your webshop: How do you select the best partner?

Or contact us for more information.